A jury has found five members of the white nationalist hate group Patriot Front guilty of criminal conspiracy to riot at a Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
A Kootenai County jury on Thursday found Forrest Rankin, Devin Center, Derek Smith, James Michael Johnson and Robert Whitted guilty after about an hour of deliberation.
A total of 31 Patriot Front members were arrested on June 11, 2022 after someone reported seeing people loading into a U-Haul van like “a little army” at a hotel parking lot in Coeur d’Alene, according to police.
When police pulled over and searched the van near where the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding a Pride in the Park event, they found riot gear, a smoke grenade, shin guards and shields, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said at the time.
Authorities arrested 31 members of the Patriot Front, a white supremacist group, near an Idaho pride event Saturday, including one identified as its founder.
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 13, 2022
Documents found with the group reportedly outlined a plan to form a column outside City Park and proceed inward, “until barriers to approach are met.”
Once “an appropriate amount of confrontational dynamic had been established,” the column would disengage and head down Sherman Avenue.
Conspiracy to riot is punishable by up to one year in jail, as well as a $5,000 fine and up to two years of probation.
The five men are scheduled to be sentenced on Friday.
Patriot Front is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “a white nationalist hate group” that formed after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
“Patriot Front focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country,” the Southern Poverty Law Center said of the group.
The group’s manifesto calls for the formation of a white ethnostate in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center said.
Ripping their masks off. Mug shots of the 31 members of the Patriot Front arrested near an Idaho Pride event, packed in the back of a truck with riot gear. pic.twitter.com/j8Pz5u4efc
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) June 13, 2022